Texas A&M University (Texas A&M or A&M) is a public research university founded in 1876 and located in College Station, Texas. In 1948, Texas A&M University became the founding member of the Texas A&M University System. As of 2017, Texas A&M's student body is the largest in Texas and the second largest in the United States. Texas A&M's designation as a land, sea, and space grant institution-the only university in Texas to hold all three designations-reflects a range of research with ongoing projects funded by organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. In 2001, Texas A&M was inducted as a member of the Association of American Universities. The school's students, alumniŽover 450,000 strong-and sports teams are known as Aggies. The Texas A&M Aggies athletes compete in 18 varsity sports as a member of the Southeastern Conference.|
In the late 1880s, many Texas residents saw no need for two colleges in Texas and clamored for an end of Texas A.M.C. In 1891, Texas A.M.C. was saved from potential closure by its new president Lawrence Sullivan Ross, former governor of Texas, and well-respected Confederate Brigadier General. Ross made many improvements to the school and enrollment doubled to 467 cadets as parents sent their sons to Texas A.M.C. "to learn to be like Ross". During his tenure, many enduring Aggie traditions were born, including the creation of the first Aggie Ring. After his death in 1898, a statue was erected in front of what is now Academic Plaza to honor Ross and his achievements in the history of the school. In 2017, the status of this statue was in doubt after other schools removed statues of former Confederate officers. In contrast, the Texas A&M Chancellor and President announced the Sul Ross statue would remain as Ross's statue's place of honor was not based upon his service in the Confederate Army.
At the start of World War II, Texas A&M was selected as one of six engineering colleges to participate in the Electronics Training Program, a ten-month activity of 12-hour study days to train Navy personnel who were urgently needed to maintain the then-new, highly complex electronic equipment such as radar. These colleges provided the Primary School, wherein the key topics of the first two years of a college electrical engineering curriculum were condensed into three months. The instructional effort at College Station was developed and led by Frank Bolton, EE department head and future Texas A&M president. At a given time, some 500 Navy students were on the campus, a significant fraction of the then-years enrollment. Students graduating from the Primary Schools then went to a secondary school, one of which was at Ward Island, Texas (the future location of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi).
In 1998, activists on campus (including Professor Patrick Slattery) suggested the statue of former university president Lawrence Sullivan Ross should be removed on the basis that he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Instead, Slattery and others wanted to create a "diversity plaza," with a statue of Matthew Gaines, an African-American politician. The project was abandoned in the wake of the Aggie Bonfire tragedy, in 1999.
In the fall of 2017 semester, Texas A&M was the second largest public American university with an enrollment of more than 63,288 students pursuing degrees in 10 academic colleges. Another 5,700 are at the branch campuses in Galveston and Qatar and other locations across Texas. The student body includes students from all 50 US states and 124 foreign countries. As of Fall 2018, Texas residents account for 85.00% of the student population, while 8.74% are of international origin. Members of ethnic minority groups make up 44.16% of the student population. The student body consists of 46.99% women and 53.01% men.
Texas A&M has made a commitment to veterans, in accordance with its efforts to be a school that respects and honors its military history. The Veterans Services Office exists to help veterans and their children take advantage of every financial aid option available to them. The Veterans Resource and Support Center is there to help veterans connect with each other and important resources and associations.
In 2013 with $955 million Texas A&M ranked in the top three universities for research expenditures; third behind only MIT and UC Berkeley. In 2004, Texas A&M System faculty and research submitted 121 new inventions and established 78 new royalty-bearing licensing agreements; the innovations resulted in income of $8 million. The Texas A&M Technology Licensing Office filed for 88 patents for protection of intellectual property in 2004.
Texas A&M owns three international facilities, a multipurpose center in Mexico City, Mexico, the Soltis Research and Education Center near the town of San Isidro, Costa Rica, and the Santa Chiara Study Abroad Center in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. In 2003, over 1,200 Aggie students, primarily undergraduates, studied abroad. Marine research occurs on the university's branch campus, Texas A&M University at Galveston. It also has collaborations with international facilities such as the Hacienda Santa Clara in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato.
During the 2006 fall semester, 20.5 percent of the student body lived on campus in one of two distinct housing sections located on opposite ends of campus. Both the Northside and Southside areas contain student residence halls. While some halls are single-sex, others are co-educational. Usually students of different genders live on alternate floors, although some halls are segregated by room or suite. Residence hall styles vary. Many halls offer only indoor access to individual rooms, but other halls locate room entrances on an outdoor balcony. Room sizes vary by building. Halls with larger rooms include en-suite or private bathrooms, while halls with smaller rooms have a common bathroom on each floor. Several halls include a "substance-free" floor, where residents pledge to avoid bringing alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes into the hall.
The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, the world's largest precision military marching band, provides music for University functions and presents intricate halftime performances at football games. Some band drills are so complicated that they require band members to step between each other's feet to complete the maneuvers. These drills must be drawn by hand as computer marching programs have returned errors; their calculations require two people to be in the same spot at the same time. Corps of Cadets membership is a requirement to join the Aggie Band, and bandsmen live by the same standards, schedules, and regimens as the rest of the Corps.